Parents Headteacher Updates/Blog

Headteacher Updates/Blog

Our natural areas in school area developing each week – we aim to develop our ponds and gardens to keep and attract animals – further enhancing the student experience and respecting our environment.

So excited to see our new Astro Pitch completed! Students have yet another cutting edge facility to take advantage of in school. I look forward to more improvements as we further improve the already better facilities than our neighbouring schools!

Welcome back after a long bank-holiday weekend – I hope you have enjoyed the time (notice I didn’t mention the weather!). Year 11 will be focussing on English this week and I have included the timetable below. Due to the English staff assessing and marking for this week, there will be no after-school revision. I’m really pleased to say that the new astro-pitch is ready for students to use – let’s just hope the weather means that students can enjoy this new update to our school facilities.

As we enter week 3 of this half term we have unfortunately seen another positive LTD Covid case. This follows last week’s 2 cases. This says 2 things – firstly, the importance of the LTD twice-weekly testing which everyone should be doing now at home, protecting themselves and others around them by picking up non symptomatic cases. Secondly, it is a stark reminder that the virus is still amongst our community. I will be reminding students of the importance of social distancing and the expectations around their everyday conduct when around people. We still remain low in terms of cases but it is important we all work together to protect each other.

Welcome to a busy week 2! After a lovely weekend, I come to school looking forward to continuing the positive return to school. Nearly all students are taking advantage of the nice weather and additional socially-distanced areas around the school site – which is lovely to see. This week is History and IT GCSE catch-up week for Y11’s. In addition, we have a live seminar (details below). Year group assemblies continue each day and the impact of Covid remains low – long may it continue! I have a plea to parents and carers around ensuring their child is punctual in the morning and indeed the huge importance of attendance – let’s work together in ensuring that the overall ‘attitude/commitment’ profile is exceptional to ensure the best chances of securing those all-important College/work placement places post Y11. Please also refer to the letter outlining uniform expectations sent out at the beginning of this term. Please also refer to the new and updated (hopefully much clearer) letters section of our website. Have a lovely week and i’ll be in touch very soon.

Click on the advert to access the live MS Teams link.
Spring Calligrams
I need some spring poems for a new display. I’d like you to write a calligram, which is a poem in the shape of an object. These will be spring calligrams, so I’ve attached some examples of calligrams in spring shapes to the Google Classroom task. Have a look at my examples, then try to write your own.

If you don’t want to write your own poem from scratch, you could just make your shape out of spring words. Here’s a list to get you started:

blue skies
April showers

Everyone who gives me a poem will get a small prize. You can come into the library at break and lunch time to complete your poem if you like.

Ms. Lancaster
End of week blog
Year 11 Specific GCSE Update Blog

Welcome back to another half-term. I hope you have had a lovely break as the country starts to ease the national lockdown and return to some more normality. Students have now moved back to having separate weekly assemblies which is wonderful and gives a better opportunity to be together and share ongoing news and information. We are also making some changes to some bubbles to give opportunities for use of different facilities. Ultimately, I really look forward to a more normal half-term and continue to ease students back into learning :O)

Year 11 students begin their Maths intensive curriculum and have hit the ground running in their studies. They have been told that there is no official ‘leaving date’ as we work around national dates and indeed exam board directives but we will will share this when we know more. For now – it’s important that students complete work and continue to build their evidence in readiness for Teacher Assessed Grades. Please note that staff cannot inform students of their grades as this will render them void.

A reminder about uniform expectations.

We reach the final week of term and my goodness coming back has been fab! Year 9’s will receive their test this week and then everyone moves onto home testing. All students have received special assemblies giving them a demonstration and further guidance are in the kits that students will be coming home with. We have rewards events running through the day during Friday – rewarding success since our return.

Please click here for Year 7 home testing letter.
Please click here for Year 8 home testing letter.
Please click here for Year 9 home testing letter.

Please click here for our uniform expectations letter.

It’s the end of the second week back and student’s have again conducted themselves and managed the new testing arrangements really well. I can’t tell you how pleased and proud I am of the teaching that is taking place in lessons and seeing students getting back into physical learning. Please do thank your children for managing the new systems and arrangements over the weekend and I’ll be in touch soon now our site is back up and running.

Please check out the letter sent about home testing kits here. These kits are for students to self-test at home.

Short weekly intro

We finally arrive the week where we welcome our students back to face-to-face teaching! Once we get through our testing arrangements, I very much look forward to getting back to as near normal as possible. Rest assured, the communication will continue through letter, blogs and texts to further support families in the full reintegration back into school life.

Students are entering school and conducting their tests really well and it’s lovely to catch up and welcome students back. I do hope the previous communication methods have proved useful for families and supported the information sharing around the staggered start.

We finally reach the last week of lockdown! I am a day late in updating my written Blog but hope the live sessions delivered has added even more in-depth and quality to the communication that you have received. For those parents and indeed students who were unable to attend these sessions, I have included to recordings below (please excuse the initial technical challenges!). Please see the letters section and scroll down to your child’s year group to access the test consent letters that have gone out this week. The table below outlines the allocated start days for particular year groups and parents will received the time slot for each child shortly.

Our return will no doubt be a challenging one as we work hard together to establish our routines and indeed catch up on any lost time during lockdown. I’m very aware that the mental health of our students is an absolute priority as we arrange and plan our-opening and have absolute faith is the strong home-school relationships, together with the passion and enthusiasm of our staff, will ensure a smooth and supportive transition back into school life. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all parents and carers for the fantastic and positive support throughout this difficult period and very much look forward to getting back into school life!

As we celebrate World Book Day and all things reading, it got me thinking about our own school and the areas that are a key focus for us – literacy, reading, writing AND those students that may have barriers to doing any of these! With this in mind, I share a great message From Stephen Fry below – please spend a few short moments watching the clip and seeing where this can be implemented in our daily operations:


World Book Day – 4th March

  • It’s World Book Day on March 4th and we would traditionally receive tokens/vouchers for students to use on free or £1 books. Due to the current situation, we have arranged for us to receive digital vouchers. These have been sent out, via email to all parents, to use to promote reading.
  • Alongside this Sarah, our librarian, will also be posting links to online events alongside other events we run throughout. Records book readings, writing competitions etc.

This week is a major week as we all wait the plans and detail around the ‘Roadmap’ out of lockdown. Unfortunately, we have all become too familiar with the media speculation of ‘will they – won’t they’ but we will all be listening to the same thing in this evening’s announcement and will hopefully give us all some clarity from here on in. We have already drafted our own school plans covering the arrangements depending on what the Government tell us and this will be shared with you as soon as these have been finalised. Like the plans in January, it may be that there are plans needed for testing arrangements also which would need to be scheduled and rolled out.

Government Announcements on the Re-opening of Schools
Following this evening’s announcements, all students are to return to school from 8th March. Our school planning and organisation now needs to work around how this best works in the interests of health & safety for our staff and students. This will take place through a staggered approach for students. These announcements meet with our planning that has taken place in the background in the run up to these announcements, which planned for every eventuality. Arrangements will need to be made around testing (twice weekly) and the logistics around this. A letter will be sent out with the day and time your child will be starting school, with a consent form for testing which will need to be completed. We stress the need to engage with testing as this protects others in our school and community. Students will be given a particular day and time, when they will start school which will begin with a lateral-flow test. We ask for your patience as we (and schools nationally) implement the testing procedures we are required to carry out. It is reassuring to see that other schools nationally now have to implement the use of face coverings – something we have done from day 1.

Further information will be sent to you via letter so you are fully aware of the plans on re-opening.

Online Options Process for Year 9
See below for the Options Fair Timetable. Students should attend a minimum of 3. The Teams link will be shared in the Y9 Common Room.

Student Session – 11am on Monday 22nd February
Click here to join the meeting

Parent/Carer Session at 6pm on Monday 22nd February

Please don’t get sucked into the recent media speculation about what schools ‘might’ be doing from 8th March. I was surprised to recently find out that it wasn’t widely realised that we actually find out about the reopening and closing of schools at the same time as the general public – we really do! I and my staff are currently creating plans around the ‘what ifs…’ As soon as the Government release their roadmap details on the 22nd February, we will communicate our response. Ultimately, there is a lot of catching up to do including getting to grips with the new testing arrangements (please ensure you have completed you consent form) and getting used to school life once again.

Our last week of term ends with lots of exciting activities and online learning. We have our Discovery Week with guest speakers from a range of different backgrounds and follow-up learning and activities.

Our school is due to become ‘Newsome Academy’ and join the Impact Multi-Academy Trust. This is an exciting new chapter for our school and has been in the planning stages for some time. I’m pleased to say that we are all set for the 1st March 2021. I am in discussions with the CEO of the Trust and we will be arranging some form of online sessions sharing information about the trust and the exciting opportunities this brings.

National announcements have been a little quiet of late but I will be in touch straight away after we know more about the end of the lockdown and what this means for schools.

What a week the last week of term has been! Our Discovery Week was extremely successful and has given students a variety of learning opportunities. Students conducted themselves impeccably and the guest speakers and teachers commented on the respect shown.

Letters will soon be sent out from school to gain parental consents for the lateral flow tests in readiness for when we return (we are still waiting to hear when this will be). Please ensure these are returned as this helps to keep our school and families safe.

Our first online Progress Evening for Y11 went well. Apologies for any technical issues during this – there were some glitches with the software but hopefully everyone managed to work through this as we are all getting used to this new online world.

The Y9 options process information will be communicated early next half-term through parent and student webinars. Dates will be sent out the week before. There will be an Options Information Session on Monday 22nd February – Students will have theirs during the day and there will be a parents session in the Evening for parents. More will follow. Drop-down sessions will take place week commencing 1st March giving students a flavour of each option subject.

As we break up for half-term, please be assured that I will be on hand and ready to share our responses to any Government announcements.

Stay safe :O)

Don’t forget the following online events this week:
– Year 11 Online Parent Meetings – 9th/10th Feb.
– Discovery Week – 10th/11th/12th Feb.

Year 7 and 8 Discovery Week Links

Year 9 and 10 Discovery Week Links

Year 11 Discovery Week Links

“Every day may not be good… but there is something good in every day”.

Students in Y7-10 are working on BLENDED LEARNING & Y11 students are working on REMOTE LEARNING (Google Classroom). I hope the first week back has been as smooth as possible. Whilst we have acted on very last-minute announcements, I know that this situation won’t be perfect for everyone. I have sent quite a few letters out to support various questions that have been sent through – please have a look at these. A key document is advice on what students should be focussing on – included in this letter (click here). Please be patient as staff develop the online materials for your child. We started our testing programme for staff and students in school this week which has been successful. This is so important and a key safety measure to minimise risk of infection.

Letters sent out this week:
– Information and key contact support (click here).
– Key information about online learning (click here).
– Health & safety & in-school provision (click here).
– Letter to Year 11 families (click here).

“Tough times don’t last, tough people do”.

ALL students are working on REMOTE LEARNING (Google Classroom). I am pleased to announce that we are continuing to work with our partners at Fareshare to support NHS families who may be struggling at this time. We are able to offer a weekly food package, to be collected from school in a non-contact, COVID safe environment. Should you wish to sign up to this scheme please text your name and your child’s name to 07860 055163 before Wednesday @ 2pm. A HUGE well done for the Y11’s who sat their Algebra exam today (Monday). Lovely seeing you all and all the very best! :O).

It was fab to see the number of Y11s who attended our College live session on Wednesday by our Careers Officer and Miss Morgan – 80 students attended. The info can be found by here.

Letters sent out this week:
– General Update (click here).
– Learning Update letter sent out this week (click here).

A big congratulations to our EAL Village Learners!  We have received  certificates and a prize for scoring 5th place in the category of average time spent learning and 7th place in the category of average points scored per learner in the annual competition  20202!  Schools from all over the world participated in this competition, so this is a massive achievement for our students.

All Year 7 & 8 now have access to Accelerated Reader online – texts will be sent out with how to access this.

Due to sever weather – school is closed for ALL students on Thursday and Friday. letter, texts and the wether watch have been sent and updated. Click here to see letter.

What a week! I hope the white stuff didn’t tempt you away from your school work. We are at the end of our first week through Google Classroom and is really important that you are engaging with your work. I know how hard the staff are working and it is so important that you put the hard work in too. There have been lots of reminder and a range of support that has been provided so no excuses! If you are reading this and thinking ‘this is me!’ – you need to visit the e-learning section (click here) and familiarise yourself with everything. Y11 students need to be ensuring they are giving their teachers as much evidence as possible to support any future grading systems.

Please see the information below about that live session you need to attend – this is for Y7-Y10 only. You will need to download the Microsoft Teams app but you can also join through the website on the links below.

Have a great weekend and stay safe! :O)

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they are too small.”

Although the snow is exciting at first, I’m so glad it’s now gone! It made me think about the people struggling to get to those they are caring for and nursing in hospitals. I’m hoping to see even more engagement in the activities that your teachers are setting – I’m seeing how hard staff are working in responding to issues and supporting requests sent in.

2 live Enrichment sessions took place on Monday 18th January for different Key Stages by Mr Watkin – Click below to download the interactive presentation that was delivered. It was good to see some interaction and indeed some positive aims in some of the questions that were asked by students. Next week will be delivered by Mr Mitchell & Mr Hinchliffe – a true double act!

Wellbeing & Healthy Minds
We are all finding restrictions difficult – Miss Dunkerley has found the following overview to start generating discussions whilst at home. Even though it is for asking questions to children, it can be for anyone. Try it.

Also the Common Room launched this week. Your Head of Year explained this in our Live Session. Please use this to communicate with your pastoral team.

If a student needs a coloured overlay to support with reading and remote learning, they can install colorveil for free and the whole screen will change to their preferred colour! Check out this link-

Letters sent out this week:
– ‘Exit Ticket’ Survey for registering each day (click here).

“The way to get started is to stop talking and start doing” Walt Disney.

The live sessions that will be taking place this week are around Safety & Learning Engagement (Mr Mitchell & Mr Hinchcliffe). They will be at the following times on Monday 25th January (links will be uploaded nearer the time:

(!) Live Session for parents on how to use Google Classroom
Tuesday 26th January. Google classroom webinar links, for parents who need some support on how to use Google Classroom, showing you the basics like logging in and using docs. 2 sessions to choose from to work around your convenience.
See below for recording:

GCSE Webinar Support for Parents
Join a GCSEPod webinar and find out how you can use GCSEPod to support your child’s learning plus get tips and guidance on effective home learning practices.  All your questions will be answered by a GCSEPod expert and you will learn about the best way to make full use of the resource during this time.  Spaces are limited! Please click here to book a session – this is a valuable resource for all Key Stage 4 students.

Letter sent out this week:
General Update (click here)

Another week down! You will no doubt have been following ‘announcements’ from the Government regarding ‘possible’ reopening of schools. We are yet to hear/see the ‘roadmap’ they are producing to show how this will happen and then we will plan accordingly. If schools do begin to open from the 8th March, I imagine there will be some sort of phased approach but when we know more, we’ll share our own plan – The Easter break is due to start WC 29th March so it will be interesting to see how these plans work out. I attach a link to our academic calendar here for your quick reference and if like me, feel like each week merges into one another! I’m now approaching my second lockdown birthday which is an amazing thought :o/

The usual Enrichment activities that are being led by the Leadership Team. We saw increased participation with over 90 students in each session (covering 2 year groups). Still low numbers but this may well build as they get used to it. We are now able to publish our assembly recordings and these will be place on our new website Enrichment Page. Students get additional activities from these with associated reward points.

I’m looking forward to Discovery Week next week! There’s some exciting things planned that are both interesting and fun.

This Monday’s whole-school student live session is based around time/self management delivered by me – very apt for some students currently! I’ll be including some templates (like below) that will be sent out in the slides that I’ll be presenting on Monday – students may want to refer to this if they are encountering issues in their learning. I’ll show students a completed example in the session also:

(!) Live Session for Students (Monday 1st Feb):
Self Management by Mr Watkin. See below for the recordings.

Parent Video eBrief

Want to find out more?

Get in Touch

Please send us an enquiry on our contact page or call us on 01484 516712 and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.